Q: I remember your first office in Cape St. Claire. I’m amazed at the changes in dentistry, the dental office and equipment over that time. What are the biggest changes in your dental practices?
A: I have been along for the high technology changes in dentistry. I started going to the dentist myself as a child of the 1950s and I am still a dental patient.
These are my top 5 Biggest Changes I’ve seen in my dental office since the 1980s began.
1. Computers networked through the office have interconnected the business office and all treatment areas. “Paperless Dental Offices” will continue to increase in number and are sure to lead the way to increased and improved patient services and better patient care.
2. Digital x-rays have eliminated the need for Dark Rooms to develop film. No more photographic chemical smell. No more lighted view boxes to see the films. X-ray images appear immediately and store in the office computer system.
The advantages of digital radiographs are less radiation exposure to produce the image, immediate graphics, and images can be printed or emailed to specialists or insurance carriers. Also there is no impact on the environment from the disposal of developing chemicals, film wrappers and metals foil and rinse water.
3. Lasers Dentists use hard and soft tissue lasers to precisely and effectively treat gum disease, utilize alternative methods of oral surgery and remove tooth decay and restorations. Numerous dental procedures from surgical to cosmetic are performed using lasers. Laser devices are also used to harden white bonded fillings, as a heat source for whitening teeth and to detect cavities.
4. There are many choices to fill teeth with the new materials developed over the past three decades. The most common option is the use of tooth colored composite or filled resin material. These materials require less tooth structure to be removed in preparation resulting in a smaller filling. It is light bonded and adhered to the tooth cavity to prevent future leakage or new decay.
5. Dentists need to work in a dark area (your mouth), lighting is essential for treatment in the oral cavity. LED dental lights produce more neutral white light, use about one-fifth of the power consumption of Halogen light bulbs, do not produce radiant heat and will last up to 30,000 hours.
LED overhead lights are mounted on the ceiling or chair. Rechargeable Mini LED head lamps are also attached to glasses or loupes to increase illumination of the magnified treatment area.
Computers, film-less x-rays, lasers, non-metal fillings and lighting with magnification are just some of the technical changes in my everyday life as a dentist.
The question in my future is what technology will bring about even better dentistry.